Jefferson and Monell Center sign agreement of cooperation

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PHILADELPHIA (August 29, 2018) — The Monell Center and Jefferson (Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University) announced today the signing of an Agreement of Cooperation, outlining how the two institutions will collaborate over the next year to develop joint scientific programs and clinical opportunities to advance their shared mission of improving human health.

This comes 10 months after the announcement of the signing of a Letter of Intent to discuss a potential merger. The Agreement of Cooperation, which became effective on August 1, 2018 and extends for one year, results from the extensive dialog between Monell and Jefferson, which identified many mutually-advantageous benefits of working as independent entities.

Terms of the Cooperation Agreement focus on promoting joint research activities between the two institutions, establishing educational exchange programs to explore basic and clinical synergies, and developing fund-raising opportunities for research programs of mutual interest.

"This creative partnership agreement is a powerful next step in our relationship with Monell," said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. "This allows our scientists to share ideas, compete for funding together, and focus on the real work – re-imagining discovery."

The collaborative partnership between an exceptional clinical health system and professional university and a world-class basic research institute presents exciting translational research opportunities to address pressing health challenges, such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension, infectious disease, and Alzheimer's dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

To achieve that goal, the two institutions will fund up to four Monell-Jefferson collaborative pilot studies exploring promising new ideas and hypotheses. A highly successful joint research symposium held at Jefferson in July identified multiple basic research synergies for scientists to develop. A second symposium will focus on clinical translation.

"Monell and Jefferson share a mission to improve lives and advance health outcomes by translating basic science into clinical practice. Over the past year we identified multiple benefits of working together to advance that mission. In one example, we recently received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for research involving scientists from Monell and Jefferson. This exciting work, which has high potential for increasing pharmaceutical compliance in children by improving the taste of liquid medicines, could not have been carried out by either partner alone," said Monell Center President and Director Robert Margolskee, MD, PhD.

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Currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding, Monell's scientists have established a strong legacy of discoveries about how the human body detects and responds to chemicals in the worlds within and around us. Advances over the past decade dramatically illustrate how the primal senses of taste and smell extend well beyond our mouths and noses to detect and vanquish invading bacteria in our airways and parasites in our intestines. Still other developments focus on the regenerative capacities of taste and smell cells, which hold great promise for addressing the decline of the senses associated with aging.

Over the last four years, Jefferson has experienced tremendous growth. Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University combined to form the new Jefferson, creating a national University delivering 21st-century professional education. The combined University is redefining the higher education value proposition through a unique model focused on interprofessional and transdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning supported by design and systems thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship, empathy, and the modes of thought central to the liberal arts and scientific inquiry. In addition, Jefferson Health has expanded from a Philadelphia-based academic medical center to a 14-hospital regional network spanning two states by partnering with community-based health systems and leveraging telehealth to deliver vital and accessible healthcare that is more convenient to patients.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968 and now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Monell builds on its legacy of advancing scientific understanding of the mechanisms and functions of taste and smell to benefit human health and well-being. Using an interdisciplinary approach, scientists collaborate in varied programmatic areas to make world-class research breakthroughs that improve lives. Among the areas of focus is the new field of sensory nutrition, where Monell science is driving significant advances to address global nutritional health by combining its expertise in the sensory drivers of food intake with innovative research in nutrient detection, metabolism, appetite, and food choice. Another recent initiative focuses on identifying treatments for anosmia, loss of the sense of smell. For more information about Monell, visit http://www.monell.org.

Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) is a leader in interdisciplinary, professional education. Jefferson, home of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College and the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, is a preeminent university delivering high-impact education in 160 undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,800 students in architecture, business, design, engineering, fashion, health, medicine, social sciences and textiles. The new Jefferson is re-defining the higher education value proposition with an approach that is collaborative and active; increasingly global; integrated with industry; focused on research across disciplines to foster innovation and discovery; and technology-enhanced. Student-athletes compete as the Jefferson Rams in the NCAA Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.

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